Tanjung Puting National Park
Tanjung Puting, Indonesia
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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Tanjung Puting National Park is a national park in Indonesia located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian state of Central Kalimantan. The park is composed of 415,040 hectares of dryland dipterocarp forest, peat swamp forest, heath forest, mangrove and costal beach forest, and secondary forest. The park was set aside in the 1930s by the Dutch colonial government for the protection of the orangutans and proboscis monkey, and was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and a national park in 1982. In addition to orangutans and proboscis monkeys, the park is also home to gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, wild boars, porcupines, and Sambar deer. The park also features many reptiles, including crocodiles, monitor lizards, and pythons, birds, including hornbills and kingfishers, and insects, such as the giant Bornean butterfly. The Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station was established in 2005 for the study of all wild species found in the Park.
Four research centers have been established within the park for the study and rehabilitation of orangutans and other primates. Camp Leakey, founded in 1971 with assistance from the Leakey Foundation, was the first of these centers. It was here where Dr. Birute Galdikas began her career studying the behavior of rescued and orphaned orangutans that were reintroduced into the wild. Her research was highlighted as the cover article of National Geographic in October 1975. Dr. Galdikas is now considered one of the world’s leading experts on orangutan behaviour and is the founder and president of the Orangutan Foundation International.
Despite being a protected National Park, approximately 65% of the park's primary forest is degraded. It is the loss of natural habitat that is the greatest threat to the wildlife. Friends of National Parks Foundation is an Indonesian NGO that has been working to restore the habitat in the Pasalat and Beguruh regions of the park since 1997. It also operates a conservation education centre in Pasalat.
Today Tanjung Puting National Park is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. The park was home to 105,000 people as of 1997. The park was heavily damaged by fires in 1997 and 1998, and today remains threatened by illegal logging, illegal mining, and forest clearing for agricultural uses.
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